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Am Fam Physician. 2007;76(7):920

Today we honor one of our own, Dr. Karl Miller, assistant medical editor, who died recently of rapidly progressive kidney cancer. Karl had been with AFP for 10 years. He edited manuscripts, wrote Tips from Other Journals, and supervised the Newsletter department. But more than that, Karl brought a wry sense of humor, a soft touch, and a winning smile to everything he did. Of course, we only got to see one side of Karl—the medical editor side. From talking with others, I recently learned some of the many other sides to Karl—the devoted family man, the academic family physician, and the contributor to his community.

It's difficult and ultimately unfair to reduce one's life and career to a short biography, but Karl's curriculum vitae gives some hint of the prolific and productive person he was. Most recently, he served as Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Family Medicine, Chattanooga Unit, at the University of Tennessee (UT) College of Medicine for the past 11 years. He was a graduate of the University of Kentucky and the Medical College of Ohio. He did his residency at the Flower Hospital Family Practice Residency, Sylvania, Ohio, where he served as chief resident, and later completed a Primary Care Faculty Development Fellowship at Michigan State University. After several years in rural private practice in Rockford, Ohio, Karl became Associate Director of the W.W. Knight Family Practice Residency Program at The Toledo Hospital, Toledo, Ohio. Following a five-year appointment at Ohio State University, Karl joined the University of Tennessee. Besides working for AFP, Karl also was the letters editor for the journal Family Medicine, and faculty for The Core Content Review of Family Medicine.

While at the University of Tennessee, Karl was medical director of the UT Family Practice Center, as well as director of research and scholarly activity. His clinical interests included geriatrics, nursing home care, quality of care at the end of life, and hospice care. However, as a full-spectrum family physician, he also managed to maintain his practice of maternity care. He served as predoctoral director at both Ohio State University and UT Chattanooga, and influenced thousands of medical students and residents who trained under his supervision. Indeed, he received medical student teacher of the year awards at both of these institutions.

Karl was a prolific author, with dozens of peer-reviewed publications to his name, and scores of invited presentations at international, national, and local meetings. Among his many service contributions to his universities and community, he also was Regional Medical Director for Adventa Hospice and a member of the National Council of Hospice Professionals. Even during his brief illness, Karl asked for some manuscripts to edit, to keep from getting bored. And, wouldn't you know, he's coauthor of an AFP article, which will be published in the next few months.

The best way to describe Karl's spirit is to mention some of the things his colleagues at AFP had to say: that he was “easygoing, funny, and didn't take himself too seriously.” That he was “a warm, caring human being who loved to make people laugh. He had a positive attitude and contagious laugh.” “He was a strong supporter of AFP professional editors—always there to point out good work.” “Karl was the quintessential ‘country doc’ in an urban setting.” “I will miss Karl's dedication, gentle nature, and smile.” He was “easy to talk to and a good listener.” “I really appreciated his dry yet goofy sense of humor; he reminded me of my best friend's dad. Both [of them] always had a mischievous twinkle in their eyes and would tell the dumbest jokes.” “Karl looked for the humor in everything.” “Just a genuinely nice guy who will really be missed.”

Yes, we will miss you, Karl. And thanks for all the great work, and for bringing a smile to our editing team.

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Copyright © 2007 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.

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